Monday, August 08, 2005

book meme: owned and loved

Filipino Librarian tagged me a while back and so here goes:

Number of books I own: Too many. Nikki and I love books and I am an inveterate buyer. When we run out of shelf space, we either cull them or give them away, keeping the treasured few. We also have several tightly packed shelves for comic book trade paperbacks.

Last books bought:

The Dragon Quintet, edited by Marvin Kaye. Ever since I read Michael Swanwick’s “King Dragon” (in one or the other of the Year's Best anthos), I’ve been wanting to pick up the original anthology where it came out originally. This antho collects five (hence, quintet) short novels by Orson Scott Card, Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Moon and Swanwick. I have high hopes that the dragon trope can still be made interesting - if not, then we'll give it a shot in Vin's dragon antho.

Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman. I’m a big comics fan and a novelization of the classic 1985 series that blew my mind away looked like a great buy. Sadly though, as I start reading, my heart is already disquieted by the tepid prose. Hopefully though, it improves (just like the Star Wars fans plowed through Episode Three, so will I with this - The Flash, as Barry Allen, was my childhood superhero). Besides, I got it a bargain at Powerbooks. The original price was around P1200, but with my discount card and judicious use of accumulated points, it cost me around P400 – incredible for a hardcover.

Last comics (trade/collected editions/original graphic novel)purchased:

Trade/Collections: DC’s Greatest Imaginary Stories, Top Ten: The Forty-Niners by Alan Moore, The New Avengers: Breakout by Bendis, Uncle Scrooge. Bargains at P150 each: Batman: Son of the Demon and Mr. Majestic TPB.

Standouts are Alan Moore's Top Ten: The Forty-Niners and DC's Greatest Imaginary Stories. Both are looks back at the past - Moore to the policemen who predated the eclectic characters in Top Ten; the other a compilation of classic Silver Age adventures that occured out-of-continuity, all of them wonderful reads, my favorite being the one about Superman's two sons.

Last books read:

The Life of Elizabeth I
by Alison Weir. This was part of my haul from last year’s book binge in the US and I finally got a chance to read it. It’s a good book – clever use of historical research and workmanlike prose plus the interesting nature of Elizabeth’s character got me going through the end.

Prince Of Europe: The Life Of Charles Joseph De Ligne by Philip Mansel. Much better than the other book, replete with tons of historical detail. Engrossing.

Five (or so) books that are important to me:

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This book acted as my personal Road to Damascus moment. Literally life-chaning, it showed me how the magic I loved could be used to write stories grounded in realism. From there, his other works beckoned, then the other writers of the Magic Realist mode.

The People’s Almanac 2 by Irving Wallace. This battered hardcover from 1978 is still with me. Every so often, I discover something new within its pages, altering as I grow older and my interests shift. My favorite reference.

The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. This is the first novel I ever read read as a child. The copy is still at the library in my old house, complete with the words I underlined and looked up because my vocabulary was much simpler then. I enjoyed the action (set in Victorian London in 1855) and the characters - it made me a Crichton fan for life.

Simple Prayers by Michael Golden. Very few books have completely wowed me in the past seven years. This is one of them. Beautifully written, intelligent and wise, this little magic realist novel set in 14th century Venice.

The Earthsea Trilogy (A Wizard of Earthsea; The Tombs of Atuan; The Farthest Shore) by Ursula Le Guin. These books were my passport to the world of fantasy - yup, I cut my teeth on Le Guin and have loved her ever since (but sadly, not her socio-scifi).

And a book on myths and legends I found in a library when I was in second grade that got me so jazzed up on the sense of wonder that I ended up praying to Zeus and Aphrodite in the church (yes, even then I was a little pagan)

People I infect with this meme: Anyone who loves books.


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